Volume 13, Number 28
01 May

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This Week

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Did Oldboy make a criminal?

These days, TV channels and newspapers are full of terrible events doing away with the need to watch movies, except for instances when I want to watch something fun or uplifting. Watching, live, the bloodshed, bombs and guns everywhere, makes me unaware: unaware of whether these are real or scenes from a movie. All the events behind the crimes are being solved step-by-step and announced on TV minute-by-minute. By bearing witness to these events with the help of technological devices I begin to feel like I am an observer, or even a police officer, in the movie.
The media helps us to inform us but it also makes events recognizable and even accessible: both to watch and to commit such as the event that happened last week at Virginia Tech. The event happened in a university, the criminal is a university student and an immigrant to the US. The student was not very well organized and clumsy, in a way, recording videotapes before the bloody event and sending, or at least trying to send them to NBC. Notice the presence of technology here! However, the tapes accidentally went to the wrong address, and were found a few days later. What was in the tape is a kind of apology from the gunman to justify his behavior. He is gone too, after killing 32 people and knowing that people need an explanation for this destruction of life, the excuse or the message he offers is "you made me like this." I don't know if any of you take this message personally or not, but it makes me think for a second. The guy seemed like a typical "loser" as defined by American culture. There are two things that made this person act like that, one is apparently the movie, Oldboy, the other is the "American dream": being popular, having money, women, success and many other things. Two simulations but only one reality and the result: a clash. Such is the possible answer for why a young man committed the bloody crime in the US.

It is hard to avoid being affected and infected by the media. The nonstop violence is presented to us and leaves us stranded between fiction and reality. According to research, people who are shy and tend to spend their time alone have a tendency to commit crimes. The gunman at Viginia Tech, Cho Seung-hui, was the same age as me, a university student, and he used to have problems with some courses and instructors like a regular student might have. He watched movies like every other human being. Unluckily, he was shy and alone and needed to commit a crime. His was another face of the bombs and wars that are happening around the world.

Oldboy may not influence you to take revenge and walk onto campus with a gun. Thankfully you are not alone or a shy person. But for me being a cold and calm witness to these events; staying away from the shy or the alone and a killer, makes us criminals too. "Who made us like this" is the second version of Oldboy that was broadcast on TV. I am surprised at how familiar with it we all are, with the bloods and bombs everywhere, and how we live with a brain that always tends to forget.

Gülay Acar (COMD/IV)

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